Laser treatment could cure Alzheimer's
8 November 2013
Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden and
the Polish Wroclaw University of Technology, have discovered a
technique to distinguish disease-causing proteins in the brain from
normal proteins using lasers.
The discovery could lead to the curing of brain diseases such as
Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (mad cow
disease) through phototherapy.
These diseases arise when amyloid beta proteins are aggregated in
large quantities so they start to inhibit proper cellular processes.
Different proteins create different kinds of amyloids, but they
generally have the same structure.
The researchers discovered that it is possible to distinguish
aggregations of amyloid proteins from the the well functioning
proteins in the brain by using a multi-photon laser technique.
“Nobody has talked about using only light to treat these diseases
until now. This is a totally new approach and we believe that this
might become a breakthrough in the research of diseases such as
Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. We have
found a totally new way of discovering these structures using just
laser light”, says Piotr Hanczyc at Chalmers University of
The researchers now hope that photo acoustic therapy, which is
already used for tomography, may be used to remove the
malfunctioning proteins without damaging the surrounding tissue.
Currently, amyloid protein aggregates are treated with chemicals,
both for detection as well as removal. These chemicals are highly
toxic and harmful for those treated. With multi-photon laser
treatment the chemical treatment would be unnecessary. Nor would
surgery be necessary for removing of aggregates.
Piotr Hanczyc, Marek Samoc and Bengt Norden. Multi-photon
Absorption in amyloid protein fibre. Nature Photonics.